Digital learning has been rough on all of us – teachers, parents, and students and it’s difficult to stay positive. It can be very discouraging. We don’t get a lot of feedback from our students. It’s difficult to find much joy in seeing our students solely through the lens of worksheets and essays and the occasional text message. Even digital conferencing, which allows you to interact with your student, may actually deplete your energy.
It can all be very discouraging. This isn’t what we got into teaching to do. However, it’s important to stay positive during these times. Here are some things I do that help me.
1. Be grateful.
Many studies have shown that practicing gratitude is key to having a positive attitude. So be grateful that you have a job, for one thing. And then be grateful that you get to teach these particular kids at this particular time. Because for whatever reason, this is what you put on this Earth to do at this particular moment. Perhaps your entire career so far has been preparation for dealing with this difficult remote learning situation.
2. Be joyful.
The work we are asked to do now can be a grind and unfulfilling. We can’t choose the circumstances But we can choose to do it with a spirit of joy and happiness. We get to guide our students through this time and give them hope. It’s a great responsibility and one we should take upon ourself gladly, even though it’s difficult.
3. Stay in the present moment.
It’s easy to focus on the fact that we’ll be doing this for the rest of this school year. And next school year doesn’t look promising for returning back to normal, either. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, every day I try to make a list of things that I need to do that day, do only those things, and try not to get overwhelmed by the future. Take it one day at a time. Also, don’t get caught in the “what about” game where you try to think about the possible negatives for next year, either.
4. Focus on What You’ve Learned.
There are probably some good lesson ideas that have come from this. For example, you might have realized that videos are really good for instruction. You might have found out that the way you structure your students’ weeks works better. You’ve probably come up with some killer lesson ideas. You know what they say: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And you’ve probably come up with some great instructional strategies that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Do Fun Student Challenges.
This week I gave my sophomores extra credit (which they desperately needed) if they cooked a meal for the family and shared a picture with me. If you do something like this with your students, you will have something to look forward to every day as the photos roll in. You’ll definitely be smiling.
In fact, another senior teacher and I have decided to abandon our final project in favor of “College Skills Week” in which they will have to perform a series of tasks – cook a meal, do their own laundry, etc. instead. We look forward to seeing what they come up with.
Keep it fun!
We need to keep our classes lighthearted and one way to do that is through comics! If you teach ELA I have a series of comics that tackle serious language arts concepts in a lighthearted way your students will love. I have a series of lessons done as comics that address various ELA topics like grammar, poetry, editing, and Shakespeare, all of which are well suited to a remote learning environment. All the fun is there for you, and your kids will love studying any of these topics because they’ll get a new comic every day! Please check out my resources and let the learning begin! Click on Robert Frost below to get a free lesson!
If you need more resources ….
Here are some more blog posts on remote learning: